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Essential workers in Hay River now under evacuation order due to wildfire

The situation in Hay River has taken a turn for the worse and anyone who is left in the town is being told to leave.
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Anyone left in Hay River, including essential workers, are being told they need to leave the town by air. Photo courtesy of Stacey Barnes

The situation in Hay River has taken a turn for the worse and anyone who is left in the town is being told to leave.

“All persons in the Hay River area, including essential workers, need to go to the Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport immediately and await further instructions,” read a statement from NWT Fire just after 4 p.m. Friday afternoon

At around the same time, the Town of Hay River official sent out an ‘urgent alert’ stating that the a Canadian Forces C130 Hercules is on the ground at the airport waiting for evacuees. The municipality is encouraging anyone left to get out.

“A blow-up event occurred this afternoon at around 3 o’clock, causing the fire to exceed firefighting efforts and move towards Hay River with a multiple kilometres long flame front parallel to the highway,” said Mike Westwick, wildfire information officer with the Department of Environment and Climate Change. ”Essential workers who were staying to support the effort, they’re evacuating.”

According to NWT Fire, the flames sat around 10 km from the town and it’s possible the fire ends up missing the town altogether, but Westwick stated that no chances were being taken.